Political party bigwigs side with agitating travel traders

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 19, 2014-

Leaders of the major political parties on Monday expressed their solidarity with travel trade entrepreneurs who have been conducting a protest against the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) accusing it of engaging in financial irregularities by amending Financ-ial Bylaws in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

About 35 travel trade associations from across the country are taking part in the demonstration which entered its third week on Monday.

Former prime minister and leader of the UCPN (Maoist) Baburam Bhattarai emphasized that the private sector’s grievance should be addre-ssed. “The issue of financial irregularities will be raised at Parliament,” he said at a meeting with the agitating entrepreneurs on Monday. He added corruption and irregularities had not only plagued the NTB but that such misconduct was rampant in all the state-owned enterprises.

The protesting travel traders have been holding a relay hunger strike on the premises of the NTB since May 15 to exert pressure on the government to address their demands.

Meanwhile, former prime minister and senior Nepali Congress leader Sher Baha-dur Deuba also expressed solidarity with the protestors at a separate meeting.

He urged the Tourism Ministry to immediately address the demand raised by the private sector. Deuba added that his party was committed to addressing the private sector’s grievance.    

Similarly, Prakash Jwala, politburo member of the CPN-UML, assured the travel traders that the issue would be settled soon.

“I will personally talk to the tourism minister to resolve the ongoing issue at the board at the earliest.”

Lawmakers and student unions representing different political parties have also expressed their solidarity with the protestors against the NTB’s misconduct.

The demonstrators launched the second phase of their protest on May 15 as the government has been turning a deaf ear to their demands.

Earlier, the government had formed a probe panel to look into the charges of financial irregularities at the NTB, but the entrepreneurs rejected the move and refused to withdraw their protest stating that the “toothless” body would not be able to conduct an effective investigation.

 

Published: 20-05-2014 10:50

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